Monday, August 25, 2014

Heart of Gold - Two Madams

Laura Bell McDaniel and Blanche Burton were two Madams in the area now know as Old Colorado City. Both were determined to make their way in the world. Not only were they successful, they were also philanthropic. Their final resting place is Fairview Cemetery near the area they made their mark. Here is your chance to hear about these women in their own words.

Pikes Peak, from near Colorado City, looking up the valley of the Fountain qui Bouille. Elevation of the peak is 14,216 feet. El Paso County, Colorado. 1870. usgs photo library

What brought you to your current avocation- in other words how did you become a madam? 

Laura BellI wanted nice things. I wasn't going to get them as a shopgirl or seamstress. 

How about you Blanche? As a divorced woman of the 1880's it was difficult to procure employment above that of a maid. Being Irish made it that much more difficult. So I decided to become an entrepreneur and work for myself
Are you married or were you ever married?
Laura Bell - Married twice. I married Samual Dale when I was 20 because he wanted to travel. When I wanted to settle down in Colorado, he moved on after I had my daughter Pearl. I then married John Thomas "Tom" McDaniel in Colorado. He left after some trouble there. 

Blanche yes-but divorced

Do your employees' like working for you?
Laura Bell - I only employed the top of the line young women. I took good care of them and saw that they had nice things and were well cared for. They enjoyed the house. 
If you could give young people any advice, what would it be?
Laura Bell - Don't become who the world thinks you should become. Become who you know you are. 

BlancheEducation is the surest step out of poverty. An education will allow you to make your own choices and not be subjected to the choices you are limited to without an education.
Final question- what about this character do you love and why?
Diana - Laura Bell was a strong woman who knew her mind and what she wanted in life. She went after it and obtained all of the things she wanted on her own terms. 
DianneWho would not love the first madam of Cripple Creek. Blanche in her later years helped out the less fortunate. She did it not for show, but because she felt it was the neighborly thing to do.

To learn more about these Colorado City Heart of Gold Madams join them at the Historic Chapel in Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs on Thursday August 28, 2014 at 6pm in honor of Fairview Cemetery. For directions and more information contact:

Historic Chapel, Evergreen Cemetery

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pearl DeVere-Cripple Creek Madam

Post written and copyright by Doris McCraw 2014

Colette LaBate as Pearl DeVere
In 1897 Cripple Creek had rebuilt itself from the disastrous fire of 1896. The Cripple Creek-Victor mining district was booming. The labor war of 1893-94 was over and the miners had won a victory over mine owners for eight hour/$3.00 day. The women who entertained the miners were back. One little girl, Mabel Barbie, observed a funeral that she would later write about in her book, "Cripple Creek Days", that placed one of the madams of the district into our hearts and minds. That madam: Pearl DeVere. This gracious lady, thanks to Colette LaBate, has returned to answer some questions. Set back and listen.

What brought you to your current avocation- in other words how did you become a madam?

Although I became involved in the underworld through an acquaintance earlier, I chose to enter the profession as a business choice. I knew it would allow me the social access and upward mobility I desired.

Are you married or were you ever married?

Unofficially I  may have been married up to three times. Officially there is no known record that I was ever married.

Mt. Pisgah Cemetery, Pearls final resting place.

Do your 'employees' like working for you?

Yes. The luxury of my parlor house allowed for a fairly easy life for the time period.

If you could give young people any advice, what would it be?

Be thankful for your comfortable life and the amazing opportunities you have. You have choices that never existed for the people who came before you.

Final question, for you Colette,what about this character do you love and why?

Once she made her choice of profession, she made it the very best it could be. For that reason, even thought she was only in Cripple Creek for a few years, she remains one of its most renowned and beloved citizens.

Thank you Colette. For more information about Pearl you can hear her speak at the Historic Chapel in Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs, Colorado on Sunday August 24 at 2 pm. For more information contact:

Historic Chapel, Evergreen Cemetery

You can also read more about the funeral in the book "Cripple Creek Days" by Mabel Barbee Lee